Welcome to Venice
Imagine the audacity of building a city of marble palaces on a lagoon – and that was only the start.
Never was a thoroughfare so aptly named as the Grand Canal, reflecting the glories of centuries of Venetian architecture in the 50 palazzi and six churches lining its banks. At the end of Venice’s signature S-shaped waterway, the Palazzo Ducale and Basilica di San Marco add double exclamation points. But wait until you see what’s hiding in the narrow backstreets: neighbourhood churches lined with Veroneses and priceless marbles, convents graced with ethereal Bellinis, Tiepolo’s glimpses of heaven on homeless-shelter ceilings, and a single Titian painting that mysteriously lights up an entire basilica.
Pity the day trippers dropped off at San Marco with a mere three hours to take in Venice. That’s about enough time for one long gasp at the show-stopper that is Piazza San Marco, but not nearly enough time to see what else Venice is hiding. Stay longer in this fairy-tale city and you’ll discover the pleasures of la bea vita (the beautiful life) that only locals know: the wake-up call of the gondoliers’ ‘Ooooeeeee!’, a morning spritz in a sunny campo (square), lunch in a crowded bacaro (bar) with friends and fuschia-pink sunsets that have sent centuries of artists mad.